Barriers to services for grandparent caregivers : a study of the barriers encountered by grandparent caregivers as they seek access to services on behalf of their grandchildren : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Social Work (Applied) at Massey University
Grandparent caregivers must seek support and assistance from social service agencies but frequently encounter barriers as they engage with those agencies. This qualitative study drew on the experience of seven grandparent caregivers whose grandchildren presented a range of behavioral, psychological and physical ailments. Semi-structured interviews elicited information about their experiences and then, through the application of phenomenological analysis and ecological theory commonalities in their experiences were highlighted. Findings described five categories of barriers: (1) barriers encountered at a systemic level, (2) a lack of services, (3) agency related barriers, (4) legal barriers and (5) financial barriers. Ecological theory revealed that these barriers had their genesis in the promulgation of an ideology that favored family care over state care. Consideration is given to the differential between the levels of support offered to foster caregivers and grandparent caregivers. The study concludes by offering suggestions for social policy formulators and social service practitioners that would address this differential.